What is "trade waste"?
In this post, I present some basic information about trade waste and trade waste charging.
What is trade waste?
Trade waste is the term used for all liquid waste generated on industrial and commercial premises and discharged to the sewer (but does not include human waste or waste from personal hygiene).
If not managed properly, the contaminants in trade waste can damage sewerage infrastructure and the environment. So authorities and water utilities throughout Australia enforce controls on the concentration of contaminants in trade waste discharged to the sewer.
Do you need a trade waste agreement or consent?
If you discharge trade waste to the sewer, you will generally need a trade waste agreement or consent from your local water utility. Failure to apply for such as agreement/consent can result in penalties.
What about trade waste charges?
Trade waste charges are generally included in your water supply invoice. The cost of trade waste disposal varies depending on the concentration of certain contaminants such as nitrogen, suspended and dissolved solids and measures such as biological oxygen demand (BOD). Charges will generally be higher if the site has previously been found to be non-compliant with any of the “approved acceptance criteria” (ie. contaminant thresholds and other criteria detailed in the trade waste agreement).
Trade waste volumes may be metered or else estimated as a percentage of the incoming water. If your trade waste charges are estimated from your water meter readings, and your site “consumes” a significant proportion of the incoming water (eg. in products or as irrigation), you may be able to reduce your trade waste charges by negotiation – we have achieved this for some of our clients.
Also, if contaminants in your trade waste (eg organics causing high BOD) are adding significantly to your trade waste charges, there may be opportunities to reduce these charges by reducing contamination levels. This may give also lead to savings by reducing wastage of the raw materials that make up the contaminants and so save on raw material cost.
Most of the inorganic contaminants in trade waste are not extracted at the treatment plants and end up in the natural water or land environment. If possible, such inorganic contaminants should therefore be disposed of as hazardous waste rather than run to the sewer.